New daycare centre teaches young kids old tricks.
By: Alexander Newman
While observing the growing trend of pet owners treating their small dogs as if they were their own offspring, Caesar McGraw, a former dog trainer and self-proclaimed baby whisperer, had an idea.
“I just saw all of these little dogs dressed up like people, eating people food and being pampered like small children by their owners and I thought, ‘well geez, maybe babies and puppies aren’t so different,’” Caesar said at the grand opening of his new west-end daycare centre Dog Your Baby last weekend.
The state-of-the-art daycare facility is taking a revolutionary approach to early childhood education by adapting the principles of canine training for use with toddlers. The staff, comprised of highly-experienced former dog trainers and daycare receptionists, will focus on building the babies’ cognitive and social skills through teaching tricks, fostering discipline and promoting the development of a pack-like mentality. McGraw believes strongly that human and canine social structures are extremely similar.
“I mean, we domesticated the things, right? So of course we’ve developed many common traits over the years. Even the toys we give dogs and babies are practically the same. Just look at squeaky toys.”
In keeping with the centre’s roots of inspiration, each child is issued a complimentary decorative name collar which includes the phone number and address of the centre. While the idea of giving children pet collars has incited some negative feedback from local parents, McGraw defends the collars as being useful, aesthetically pleasing tools.
“The collars are very attractive, but they also serve a practical purpose. I mean, what if a baby runs away? This way when someone finds it they’ll know exactly where it came from. I mean, people have been putting their toddlers on leashes for years. I just don’t see the difference here.”
For an extra $1500 customers can choose to upgrade their child’s collar to a GPS tracking chip surgically implanted in the child’s neck. While this has also been met with concern, McGraw is quick to assure parents that this minor surgical procedure is performed by a fully-accredited veterinarian.
Another feature unique to Dog Your Baby is its anti-group-napping policy. Unlike conventional daycare centres, which allow children to nap together on floor mats, kids at Dog Your Baby are provided with individual napping crates. McGraw believes that using the crates will help foster independence, and help decrease the frequency of scared children crawling into bed with their parents at night.
Despite facing harsh criticism from the traditional daycare community, the centre has managed to gain some very high-level endorsements, including from the Right Honourable Stephen Harper who attended last weekend’s grand opening with his wife Laureen. When asked about his endorsement, he responded:
“The Harper Government (TM) has always supported young families with working parents. In fact, it’s a big part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan™. But we’re not here today on official business. Laureen and I just feel that the good work Mr. McGraw is doing here is in line with our own family values and traditions.”
Dog Your Baby Daycare Centre is now accepting applications from parents. While the centre is open to all, children who are already paper-trained will be given a slight priority.